Steering Maintenance for a Series Land Rover
Some of the components of the steering system are troublesome to overall, so preventive maintenance is the way to go. Don't haul on the steering wheel when the wheels are not rotating and go easy when turning on tarmac when offroad knobbly tyres are fitted.
Starting at the top of the steering system, check for up and down movement on the steering wheel; if there is any then the steering column nut under the central cover is the cure for this. Also check for vertical movement of the steering column and if present then the column mounting bracket on the bulkhead is at fault.
There should be very little free movement in the steering wheel before the wheels begin to turn. From late Series I Land Rovers onwards there is an adjuster nut in the steering box to take up some of this wear in the steering gear. If that does not cure it, then get a second person to turn the steering wheel from side to side whilst you look underneath for sideways play in the various ball joints in the steering linkage. Some earlier ball joints could allow the grease to leak out and simply removing them and repacking them with high pressure grease solves the problem: Usually however you need to replace the balljoint. Some balljoints have grease nipples and if present these should be greased regularly.
Series I Land Rovers were fitted with a worm and nut type of steering but later models had the recirculating ball type. The units are interchangeable.
Both the steering box and the relay housing can be topped up with HP90 oil, though early Series I
relay housings do not have a filler plug and you need to remove two bolts from the top cover and dribble oil in through one of them (air leaves through the other).
The turning circle of a Series Land Rover can be troublesome at the best of times and it is well worth checking that the steering stops on the swivel hub housings are set to allow maximum safe movement of the wheels from lock to lock. These stops will often not be contacted when normal sized road tyres are fitted as there simply isn't enough wheel articulation available from the maximum available 3.3 turns of the steering wheel.